In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
Johnnie loves his train ("The General") and Annabelle Lee. When the Civil War begins he is turned down for service because he's more valuable as an engineer. Annabelle thinks it's because he's a coward. Union spies capture The General with Annabelle on board. Johnnie must rescue both his loves. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Producer Joseph M. Schenck gave Buster Keaton $400,000 to make this film, so the production company moved with 18 freight cars of props and sets to Oregon. In the next two months the town of Marietta, Georgia, was built near the Oregon town of Cottage Grove. See more »
The pistol Johnnie uses near the end of the film to arrest the Yankee officer in the cab of the General is a Colt revolver from the 1870s. See more »
No one will top Keaton for physical risk, and risk is what deep film experiences are all about. This might be classed as a comedy, but for me it touches deeply enough. Its about a man who needs to prove himself by taking risks and being true. And its by a man who takes even greater risks and is more true. True to the spirit of the social compact, here displayed as the chummy south.
He's always done stunts that amaze. Many of his other films have things in them that if the timing were only a little off, he'd be seriously injured, or die. But this takes the cake. Its almost as if he started with the idea that he'd have three locos to play with and had a year to think up stunts.
And the stunts are so physical! And so dangerous. And so, so very effective.
His trademark is the deadpan face placed as a sort of innocent cluelessness. Its particularly funny when you see the physical movements and you know that 1) they take incredible preparation and timing to pull off and 2) the fellow you see that looks so puzzled by the reality you see is the guy that devised and directed those stunts.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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